The Lassa Fever scare is getting even more real. With more and more cases reported nationwide, state governments are beginning to take this even more seriously and have embarked on preventive measures for its inhabitants.
But it is not enough for the government to try, we also have to protect ourselves too.
According to reports, the affected areas in Nigeria primarily are Bauchi, Nassarawa, Taraba, Niger, Edo, Rivers, Plateau, Gombe, Oyo and now Lagos state. Sigh!
The mortality rate of this disease is at nearly 45%, so it is no joke. Here are key facts you need to know about the fast-killing virus:
- Lassa Fever is a zoonotic disease, spread through the Mastomys rodent. Although the virus does not affect the rodents carrying it, they are still able to spread the disease through excretion.
- Lassa Fever can also be spread through humans by direct contact with the urine, faeces, blood or other bodily secretions of an affected person.
- The symptoms usually are: A high fever, back pain, vomiting and bleeding.
- This virus is a part of the Arenaviridae family, and occurs mainly in West Africa.
- The incubation period of the disease ranges from 6-21 days. In fatal cases, death usually occurs within 14 days of onset.
- Lassa Fever was actually first discovered in Borno state, Nigeria by two missionary nurses who died after being affected. Hence, the disease is named after the town where the first cases occurred.
- About 80% of people who become affected by the Lassa virus usually have no symptoms.
- Lassa Fever can often be mistaken for Ebola, Malaria and Typhoid Fever, as the symptoms may be similar.
- The spread of the virus can be prevented by storing food (especially grains) in airtight, rodent-proof containers, keeping cats and being careful to avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids.
- Currently, there is no cure for Lassa Fever, however the only available drug, Ribavirin, can be effective if it is administered early on in the infection (within the first 6 days).
Please, let’s protect ourselves and stay safe.